Unfolding the Pushchair. Children’s Mobilities and Everyday Technologies

Susana Cortés-Morales, Pia Christensen

Abstract


Within the social studies of children and children’s geographies a long-standing concern has been to study children’s everyday mobility, where mobility has been thought about as an individual independent capacity. In this paper we argue for a conception of mobility as an effect (or product) of multiple human, social, material including technological interdependent relationships and connections. We draw upon Actor-Network Theory, particularly in the way it has been developed in the so-called ‘new wave’ social studies of childhood and in relation to perspectives in wider studies of mobility. Bringing these frameworks to the study of children’s mobility suggests that everyday technologies, like the pushchair, can act as extensions of the self, having a key role in creating, changing and (de)stabilising the networks of interactions that compose the social life of children and families. In illustrating
and discussing some of these ideas we focus on a simple ethnographic account: a family journey to a playgroup. We unfold the role of the pushchair in young children’s mobility as a non-human artefact performing a circulatory role in different
directions and as an extension of different agencies.

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